Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Bryant, William Cullen. (1794 - 1878).

L i f e

- practised law

- edited the NY City Evening Post for almost 40 years: one of the most respected voices in the 19th century journalism commenting virtually on every important issue of the time

- associated with the Knickerbocker School

W o r k

< influenced by the classics, the 18th century Neo-classical poets, and especially the ‘Graveyard School’

< influenced by William Wordsworth > his early vision of nature characteristic by self-control, emotional distance, and purity of line

- content: literary nationalism

(a) two thirds of his poems are concerned with the natural world: landscape, flora, and meteorological phenomena

(b) also concerned with historical personages and events, friends, Indian legends, and few other themes

- form: accurately rhymed or sonorously unrhymed blank verse

- used nature and poetry as a tool to create a religion to sustain himself

- expressed the most consistent vision of the world: meditative, restrained, full of dignified serenity and pleasure in nature

=> founded the Romantic tradition

- extremely popular: appreciated by Edgar Allen Poe, Ralp Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman

The Embargo; or, Sketches of the Times:

< influenced by Alexander Pope

- an early Federalist satire on President Thomas Jefferson’s policies


- earned him a very meagre sum of money

- proved poetry to be no alternative as a livelihood

Lectures on Poetry:

- focused on the original, imaginative, moral, and didactic properties of poetry

- sought ‘a luminous style’


< influenced by the ‘Graveyard School’

“To a Waterfowl”

“The Prairies”

Also wrote: a translation of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey


(Source: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    William Cullen Bryant. (1794 - 1878). American.
  • Work

    Poet. Journalist. Critic. Author of "Thanatopsis".
  • Genre



Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


"Weep not that the world changes—did it keep / A stable, changeless state, 'twere cause indeed to weep".

From "Mutation. A Sonnet".


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